This name, with variant spelling Denniston, is of Scottish territorial origin from the old barony of Danzielstoun in the parish of Kilmalcolm, Renfrewshire (now part of the Strathclyde region). The place was so called from the genitive case of the male given name Daniel meaning "God is my judge", plus the Medieval English "toun" or "tone", or settlement (from the Old English "tun"), hence, "Daniel's settlement". According to "Territorial Antiquities of the parishes of Scotland", the barony before this name as early as the reign of Malcolm 1V (1153-1165).The surname was first recorded in the latter part of the 13th Century, (see below). Other early recordings include Johannes de Daniellyston, keeper of Dumbarton Castle in 1371, and Sir John de Danyelstona, "the register of the Great Seal of Scotland", (1373). One, John Dennestoun was witness in Linlithgow in 1536, and James Dennistoun (1803-1855), Scottish antiquary, had his "Memoirs of the Dukes of Urbino" published in 1851. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Sir Huew de Danielestoun who rendered homage, which was dated 1296, in the "Records of Lanarkshire", during the reign of John Balliol of Scotland, 1292 - 1296. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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